Thursday, June 02, 2005

Social Bookmarking, Scholars Boxes--the emerging need for centralized information management

At Calgary we are currently testing an internet based citation management tool. It has many great features for saving references for bibliographies, but I'm a bit disappointed that it doesn't have many of the features I enjoy with FURL.

FURL is a social bookmarking tool that allows me to capture links to web pages, articles and other online content.

Like many others, I've become used to finding almost all my information online, and having to collate a blizzard of print-outs if I want to organize information for long term work is increasingly frustrating.

What I need is to be able to seamlessly

* capture information for online storage and later decide what is worth reading or keeping
* annotate my links and add whatever metadata suits me and my projects
* see who else has linked to the same information or chose to keep my links private
* create "reading clubs" to share information with people who's interests overlap with mine
* allow other people to collaborate with me on my documents or in annotating links
* clip quotes as I'm reading, add annotations and put them into new documents or folders
* search the full text of my stored information
* send information to my colleagues or students via email
* organize the material in folders
* keep it for as long as I want, even if I leave this university (heaven forfend) and go somewhere else
* access this "personal portfolio" from any computer with an internet connection

Technology and applications exist to make this all possible, but we need a product that brings this all together in one package.

After a little online digging I find I'm not alone in longing for a better solution to the information management problem. Here are some links I've come across:

'Towards Library Groupware with Personalised Link Routing', Ariadne Issue 40

Scholar's Box

and an interesting exchange on the Making Links blog

If anyone else has some references or projects to add to this list let me know and I'll post them.

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